When you think of the causes of hearing loss, you probably think of old age and exposure to loud noises. But did you know that excessive sun exposure can also damage your hearing? We review the connection below.
What the Research Shows
A study from Japan sought to examine the relationship between sun exposure and hearing ability. In order to do this, researchers analyzed the facial skin condition of 805 people over the age of 65 using image analysis of standardized facial images. In addition, their hearing ability was measured with audiometric tests.
The researchers found a correlation between excessive sun exposure and hearing loss. According to the study authors, “The results support the hypothesis that chronic sun exposure is a risk factor of hearing impairment.”
How Are Sun Exposure & Hearing Loss Connected?
The reason for the connection between excessive sun exposure and hearing loss is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants within your body. Free radicals are necessary to fight infections, but they also break down fatty tissue, DNA and proteins in the body when not balanced with antioxidants.
Excessive exposure to UV rays found in harsh sunlight can increase oxidative stress, causing your body to age more rapidly and your hearing ability to suffer.
How Can I Protect Myself from Oxidative Stress?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in three Americans gets a sunburn each year – a clear sign of overexposure to UV rays. You can protect yourself against dangerous UV rays by:
- Applying sunscreen of at least 30 SPF daily, reapplying regularly when spending time outdoors, even if it’s cloudy.
- Wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat when working outside.
- Doing outdoor activities early in the morning and late in the evening.
- Avoiding tanning salons.
If you do get sunburnt when spending time at Bergfeld Park, it’s important to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, which contain antioxidants, to maintain balance. Applying aloe vera gel to your sunburn can also increase antioxidants and neutralize free radicals in your body. You should also get lots of sleep and regularly exercise. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call SoundLogic today.